Tuesday, March 8, 2011
No Love For Iron City in Iron City
Whatever city I find myself in, I want to sample the local poison. Recently, I was in Pittsburgh. My first meal in Pittsburgh was at an old German joint, Max's Allegheny Tavern, where I dined with my uncle, aunt and cousin, all residents of the town. I was determined to try a local brew. Iron City seemed the ticket. The pilsner had been produced within city limits from 1861 to 2009. (It's now made in Latrobe, PA.) That's quite a long run.
But when I voiced my intention to order an Iron City draft, my aunt seemed alarmed. "You don't want to get that," she said. My cousin seconded the motion. "It's bad," she said. My aunt related a tale in which she had become violently ill the last time she has consumed an Iron City. This was remarkable since my aunt is a Bud drinker. She likes Bud, but thinks Iron City is bad. Now that's bad.
My uncle came to the beer's defense. "You're in Pittsburgh, Robert," he said. "You should have one, and decide for yourself." I came over to my uncle's opinions, and solidified my choice.
Then the waitress arrived. Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. I gave my order. She looked at me, dry-eyed, and asked, "Are you sure?"
"Well, I was sure," I stammered. "But now you're making me afraid of Iron City. Don't you like it?"
"Honestly, no," she replied.
I stuck to my guns. The mug of Iron City arrived.
Was it good? No. Was it worse than Bud? Certainly not. If anything, it had more character. This may sound bizarre, but it tasted metallic. As if there really was iron in it. Perhaps that's the quality that made it act as a natural laxative for my aunt. But I certainly would choose it over Bud or Miller or Coors or whatever pilsner crap, given the chance. But I wouldn't walk a country mile for it.